The Wedge of Truth: Splitting the Foundations of Naturalism

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As the scientific worldview has become more authoritative and self-sufficient, it has loosed a cascade of appalling fears: that the human soul, insofar as it can be said to exist, may be a mortal and broadly comprehensible product of material forces; that the immanent, caring God of the Western monotheisms may never have been more than a fiction devised by members of a species that self-indulgently denies its continuity with the rest of nature; and that our universe may lack any discernible purpose, moral character, or special relation to ourselves.

But as those intimations have spread, the retrenchment known as creationism has also gained in strength and has widened its appeal, acquiring recruits and sympathizers among intellectual sophisticates, hard-headed pragmatists, and even some scientists. And so formidable a political influence is this wave of resistance that some Darwinian thinkers who stand quite apart from it nevertheless feel obliged to placate it with tactful sophistries, lest the cause of evolutionism itself be swept away.

As everyone knows, it was the publication of The Origin of Species in that set off the counterrevolution that eventually congealed into creationism. After all, the subsiding of faith might have been foreseeable as soon as the newly remapped sky left no plausible site for heaven.


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The Significance of Phillip Johnson

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Review: The Wedge of Truth. Purchase this book online. Paul Tillich, the great German and American theologian, warned theologians never to embrace or reject any scientific idea for purely theological reasons. Such a strategy is theologically injudicious not only because scientific ideas are always subject to revision but also because new ideas from science can be an important stimulus to theological development.

One such idea has been that of evolution. Followers of Tillich's dictum do not reject or edit Darwin's "dangerous idea" if at first it seems not to sit well with certain inherited theological ideas. Instead they embrace it in all of its raggedness and, if need be, modify their theology accordingly. Although skeptics might consider such theological revision a defeat for religion, the fact is that religious thought has often undergone important change in the face of new intellectual challenges.

Otherwise it might have died. Phillip Johnson, however, wants nothing to do with theological revision.

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This seems to be the arc that intelligent design is traversing. In , members of the Kansas State Board of Education voted to soften the dogmatism that had dominated evolution-instruction. Yet Johnson was critical of the Kansas decision because it removed some aspects of macroevolution from the curriculum. Johnson has always been a proponent of objective education — not censorship. Objective evolution education had won. It was around this time that Darwin-lobbyists realized that they better stop ignoring Johnson, and start telling the world that unless students are prevented from questioning Darwinism, the sky will fall.

ID critics quickly learned that the most effective way to target ID was not to address its arguments, but to make accusations of secret, sinister motives among proponents.

The wedge of truth : splitting the foundations of naturalism | Semantic Scholar

On the contrary, with Phillip Johnson, what you see is what you get. Phillip Johnson is one of those rare individuals who is always the same person. He asks the same hard questions in Sunday School as he does in the Berkeley classroom.

Naturalism: it's contribution

He has a unified personality. I have seen him in hundreds of different situations, and there is no split in his soul. Ironically, intemperate efforts to attack Johnson often ended up drawing people to him, creating a growing network of scientists and other scholars interested in intelligent design. About a week later I received a letter with a return address of Boalt Hall.


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Attracted by his intellect, character, and boldness, a new generation of scientists and scholars became connected to each other through Johnson. Some critics would like to call Johnson the father of ID. But the Godfather? Most definitely.

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Johnson below , by Greg Schneider. If so, would you donate so it can continue? What You Saw, What You Got ID critics quickly learned that the most effective way to target ID was not to address its arguments, but to make accusations of secret, sinister motives among proponents.